London: Alastair Cook scored 147 in his final innings in company of skipper Joe Root, who was back in form with a three figure mark as England reached 364 for 6 at tea on the penultimate day of the fifth Test.England now enjoy an overall lead of 404 runs and the 259-run stand for the third wicket between Cook and Root (125) killed the contest.
While Cook made it a memorable ending to his illustrious career with a 33rd hundred, Root scored his first hundred in 28 innings as Indian bowlers struggled in absence of an injured Ishant Sharma. While Cook’s 286 ball knock had 14 boundaries, Root hit 12 fours and a six off 190 balls as both were dismissed off successive deliveries by debutant Hanuma Vihari (2/24).
In the post lunch session, the duo looked to build on their partnership and further frustrate the Indian bowlers, bringing up their 200-stand off 303 balls. Root, on 94, got a second life as Cheteshwar Pujara dropped him at first slip off Mohammed Shami (2-97) in the 77th over. He then went on to score his 14th Test hundred off 151 balls.
Thereafter, Root started attacking as England crossed 300 in the 88th over. India were a bowler short with Ishant leaving the field due to ankle pain. Vihari struck twice in the 95th over. First, Root holed out and then Cook was caught behind, with the opener walking off to a standing ovation as well as congratulatory handshakes from the Indian team.
Shami then got reward as Jonny Bairstow (18) played on and Ravindra Jadeja (2-147) removed Jos Buttler for a duck as England looked to score some quick runs in sight of a declaration.
Earlier, Cook’s hundred helped England reach 243-2 at lunch. Starting from overnight 114-2, first up he reached his half-century off 127 balls. He and Root continued to plunder runs at an easy pace as 55 runs came in the first hour of play, and 129 runs overall in this morning session, the best of this fifth Test.
In doing so, the duo raised their 100-partnership off 171 balls as Cook started breaking records. First, on 76, he went past Kumar Sangakkara as the highest-scoring left-handed batsman in Test cricket history, and will finish as the fifth-highest run-scorer overall after Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Root scored his half-century off 81 balls as England crossed 200 in the 63rd over. He had been dropped at slip by Ajinkya Rahane, on 46, off Jadeja in the 56th over. The big moment then came in the 70th over of this innings as an overthrow from Jasprit Bumrah (0-61) gave Cook his 33rd Test century off 210 balls, surpassing Australia’s Steve Waugh (32).
Additionally, Cook became only the fifth batsman in Test cricket history to score hundreds in his first and last matches, after Australians Reggie Duff, Bill Ponsford, Greg Chappell and India’s Mohammad Azharuddin.
Further, this was his seventh Test hundred against India, more than any other English batsman, ahead of Kevin Pietersen’s six hundreds. He is now also the second-highest run-scorer in Test cricket after Ponting (2555 runs). With 15 hundreds in second innings in Test cricket, he also over took Sangakkara (14 hundreds). India seemed to have gone off the boil especially with one strike bowler short, as the duo ground them for runs.